We must not break up Labour’s “winning” team, McDonnell tells Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn must not break up Labour’s “winning team” of frontbenchers, his shadow chancellor said today.

John McDonnell, one of the leader’s closest allies, insisted the party must “draw upon all the talent” in the parliamentary party after days of speculation about a possible return from some of the big beasts in exile.

Several former shadow cabinet ministers could be in line for a return, as Labour aims to build on its increase in seats, which came despite a third consecutive general election loss. Chuka Umunna, the former shadow business secretary, appeared to consider the move when he spoke out about the results on Friday.

Today McDonnell defended the effort of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, the bulk of whom came together nearly a year ago after the summer “coup”.

“We want to draw upon all the talent” in Labour, McDonnell said.

“Our shadow cabinet at the moment was a winning team. It just won effectively votes that no one predicted that we would so I don’t want to break up that winning team”.

Former cabinet minister Caroline Flint also appeared on ITV1’s Peston on Sunday. As the host suggested she and other Corbynsceptics should be offered roles in a future cabinet, Flint criticised Theresa May for clinging on in Downing Street.

McDonnell said the make-up of the shadow cabinet is “up to Jeremy” but that “there are a number of vacancies that’ll be coming up almost certainly in addition to that there’s other roles people can play.”

Yvette Cooper has been tipped to return to the front bench, perhaps even to the role of shadow home secretary, a position being filled by Lyn Brown after Diane Abbott was taken ill.

Cooper, who filled the role under Ed Miliband’s leadership, appeared to show an interest when she appeared on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday. She said the party must pull together in preparation for another general election.

Nicky Morgan, sacked as education secretary by May, called on the prime minister to quit and said she did not want to see a “coronation” for the next Tory leader.

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